Statistics, Maths & Elections

Ah.. Elections.

Final national results are in for the recent Local Elections for councillor seats.

Con

Lab

Lib Dem

Other

Green

Ukip

Net Change

-1,269

-63

676

285

185

-36

Hold

3,477

1,776

668

764

77

11

Gain

82

244

683

435

188

20

Lost

1,351

307

7

150

3

56

Total

3,559

2,020

1,351

1,199

265

31

I’m not sure why most reviews ignore the continued growth of Independent seat winners, or the fact that electoral Boundaries have changed since previous election cycle, or why UKIP receives more reporting than Independents or Greens. But all of those are all thoughts for another day.

93 (-45) Councils are primarily dominated by the Conservatives

71(+36) Councils now have no overall dominant group.

60 (-6) Councils are primarily dominated by Labour

18 (+11) Councils are primarily dominated by Liberal Democrats

4(+3) Councils are primarily dominated by Independent Control

2 (+1) Councils are primarily dominated by Resident Association Control

FYI Greens are highest @ 2nd place in various councils. But no overall controls.

FYI UKIP are highest @ 3rd / 4th in various councils

What I continue to be focused on is the problem of our “Winner Takes All” aka “First Past The Post” (FPTP) system. How it effects who gets elected, how people vote, and how invested voters are in this democracy.

So as these are Local Elections I’m going to local into the available stats via the Wigan Council Website.

And then see what I can conclude, and to see what happens if I take these single person votes and apply a Proportional Representation (PR) system to the votes cast. No change in the ballot papers, and no crazy alternative vote system , or single transferable vote systems, which people bring up to confuse how simply a proportional system can be applied.

To be transparent before I work on the stats here are some of the thoughts I struggle with.

Was is JUST a Protest?

Was it a Brexit Protest?

REMAIN parties were – Liberal & Green. LEAVE parties – Con & Labour & UKIP

Politics & voting has always been a mess. We want transparency but the FPTP system creates a feeling of opacity. Local elections TEND to opposition parties – NOT governing party

Generally the National Turn out for Local elections is around 35%.

The last General was 69%.

The 2015 Referendum was 72%

We are NOT a 2 party system – but we use FPTP system.

Winners are responsible for ALL people in their constituency- not just their voters

People will not participate if they do note feel their vote has any effect

Do people Vote for what they want? Do the Vote against NOT what you they want? (Tactical Voting?)

Why do people reject PR – I often get told voting for PR, instead of voting for a person – they want to KNOW the individual? Do they think councillors and MPs work alone and aren’t always forming alliances?

Parties already ‘Parachute’ MPs/Councillors into ‘safe’ seats

Wouldn’t it be more constructive if councils worked on alliance of interest and problem solving – not tribal/party power?

You work with people you don’t agree with every day – isn’t that what builds a civilised society!?

These thoughts will effect how I read the statistics from the local Wigan election.

But as ever the mathematics – the numbers – cannot be faked. What they mean is up to you.

Wigan’s Population is estimated to be 320,000, with the Registered Electorate at 238,646. The Votes cast 64521 – or a Turnout 27.04%

25 Seats were contested. 4 Areas only had 3 options. 8 Areas had 4 options. 13 Areas had 5 options.

No Conservative in Pemberton. No UKIP in Bryn, Hindley Green, Worsley Mesnes, Standish. Liberals in 13 areas. Greens in 6. No Independents stood in Wigan Central, Worsley Mesnes, Orrell, or Lowton East.

*COULD YOU CONCLUDE THAT PARTIES ARE NOT INVESTED IN ALL AREAS IF THEY DON’T FIELD A CANDIDATE?

How did the numbers pan out across all 25 areas?

Median

Position

Party

Average %

By Area

Highest % By Area

Lowest

% By Area

Vote

% Overall

Electorate

% Overall

Residents

% Overall

1

Labour

41.89%

58.53%

21.23%

41.01%

11%

8%

2

Independents

26.28%

54.75%

6.51%

21.22%

6%

4%

3

UKIP

17.68%

27.81%

9.33%

14.26%

4%

3%

4

Conservative

15.73%

60.02%

4.80%

16.40%

4%

3%

4

Green

10.12%

13.17%

7.03%

2.39%

1%

0%

5

Liberals

7.39%

18.14%

2.77%

3.83%

1%

1%

Spoilt

0.87%

3.82%

0.24%

0.89%

0%

0%

100.00%

First column shows the most common position each grouping finished in.

As is clear there is an overall Labour dominance. But beyond that things are not as clear.

Despite most often coming 3rd. UKIP received the 4th largest votes overall. The Conservatives got more votes overall, but finished worse positionally under FPTP. There are similar patterns with Liberals & Greens.

I did notice almost 4 out of every 100 voters in Worsley Mesnes spoilt their ballot paper – given a Con/Lab/Lib ballot only – this was massively outside all the other spoilt ballot counts. I have spoilt ballots in the past because I could not vote for any of the options I was given. I have to wonder if this outlier is related here.

4 out of 10 active voters, but only 11 out of every 100 registered voters actually voted for Labour.

That hardly seems like a dominant group does it? Why is that? If the councillor chooses to only represent their voters, there are choosing to only act on behalf of 8 out of every 100 residents.

I’m not surprised people are disillusioned given these results.

What percentage of votes in each area were needed to get to each position?

1st Place % Average

1st Place % Max

1st Place % Min

45%

60%

31%

2nd Place % Average

2nd Place % Max

2nd Place % Min

27%

39%

18%

3rd Place % Average

3rd Place % Max

3rd Place % Min

15%

25%

7%

4th Place % Average

4th Place % Max

4th Place % Min

11%

25%

5%

5th Place % Average

5th Place % Max

5th Place % Min

6%

11%

3%

So it was possible to win a seat with as low as 31% of the vote in an area. And below that there is overlap in each category. On average 45% to win a FPTP election means that more than half the votes are negated. So more than half the voters would be entitled to conclude their vote means nothing in the end.

From the raw data only 7 Seats had a first place with a 50%+ Majority 4 Labour 2 Independent 1 Conservative, For 18 other seats more people didn’t vote for the winner than did. Their vote was negated.

What were the results?

Actual Seats

Vote

% Overall

Electorate

% Overall

Labour

20

41.01%

11%

Independent

3

21.22%

6%

Conservative

2

16.40%

4%

UKIP

0

14.26%

4%

Liberal

0

3.83%

1%

Green

0

2.39%

1%

Spoilt

0.89%

0%

100.00%

There you go. Four fifths of the seats went to Labour, with two fifths of the vote, and only one tenth of the electorate actually actively choosing them.

What would happen under PR?

There are various PR methodologies – I’m not going to delve into the mathematics unless requested.

But here are the results.

 

Actual

Straight %

Webster

Sainte Lague

De Hondt

Vote

% Overall

Electorate

% Overall

Labour

20

10

10

11

41.01%

11%

Independent

3

5

5

5

21.22%

6%

Conservative

2

4

4

4

16.40%

4%

UKIP

0

4

4

4

14.26%

4%

Liberal

0

1

1

1

3.83%

1%

Green

0

1

1

0

2.39%

1%

Spoilt

0.89%

I would love to know how would voting change if people knew their vote for something would count. I know that although I don’t agree with all parties, a PR result more closely represents the actual votes cast. Especially given that 7 out of 10 registered people didn’t even vote.

FPTP is not representing the will of the voters.

I have all data & calculations on a spreadsheet if anyone wants it.